Styrian high-tech group AT&S is currently building a new research and production center in Leoben for IC substrates, which are an essential component of high-performance computer chips. Today, Austria’s chancellor Karl Nehammer and Styrian Secretary of Economy Barbara Eibinger-Miedl were able to see for themselves the progress of construction of the new plant, which will go into operation next year and is considered one of the most important Austrian and European contributions to global microchip production.
Chancellor Karl Nehammer: “Microelectronics industry can drive Austria’s economic growth in the long term.”
AT&S CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer: “A center of excellence for microelectronics packaging unique in Europe is being created in Leoben in several expansion stages.”
Leoben, April 21, 2023 – It is impossible to imagine our everyday life without microelectronics; in the past decades, a global digital infrastructure has emerged which communication and devices for everyday use would not function without – microelectronics control notebooks, electric cars and satellites, to name just a few examples. Innovation in this area is the basis for digitization, electrification and green technologies, and provides the key technology for efficient transport, communications and energy networks. “No region in the world can afford to lose out here”, said AT&S CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer and added: “Wherever digital data and information are processed, transmitted or stored, circuits made of microchips and printed circuit boards are used. This makes microelectronics the key to energy and cost efficiency, as well as performance in essentially all areas of life and industries.”
A unique microelectronics research center is currently being built in Leoben. AT&S is investing more than half a billion euros in the new R&D center, which will also feature manufacturing capabilities. The first equipment will go into operation this year, and will be used in the future to produce and research IC substrates that bundle semiconductor elements into high-performance microchips. This will be the first time that significant research and production capacities have been established in Europe in a key area of microchip production, which until now has been based almost exclusively in Asia. Substrate and microelectronics packaging solutions such as those offered by AT&S are essential for the further miniaturization of chips and will become important for Europe in this key industry of the 21st century.
Prosperity and supply chain security
In the context of the chip crisis, Europe was drastically shown how dependent it is on the value chains in Asia. “Europe needs to build up essential know-how to free itself from dependencies and gain access to crucial elements of the supply chain,” said CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer, adding: “The European Union’s commitment to future investments in the framework of the Common Chips Act or IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) Microelectronics, makes it clear that politicians have recognized the strategic importance of microelectronics.” The next step will be to implement this commitment in the form of targeted support measures and the accompanying easing of political conditions for the relevant industrial sectors.
Austria’s chancellor Karl Nehammer paid tribute to the region and the new facilities during a tour of the new AT&S research center, which is located in the middle of Austria’s microelectronics hub “Styricon Valley”: “We have market-leading companies in the semiconductor and microelectronics industries situated in Carinthia and Styria, which can drive Austria’s economic growth in the long term. AT&S is demonstrating in Leoben how to consolidate technology leadership and gain market share for Europe through innovations and sustainable production facilities. By investing and expanding, AT&S is not only making an important contribution to Austria as a business location, but is directly creating several hundred new jobs in the region.”
The new research center not only benefits the economy, but also the environment: electricity for production is generated exclusively from renewable energy sources, the use of fossil fuels for heating is kept to an absolute minimum through the efficient use of waste heat, and the introduction of circular recycling systems allows almost perfect reuse of key resources.
“Thanks to companies like AT&S, microelectronics is a major economic strength in southern Austria. This makes us a region of the future and allows us to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalization. The entire business region of Styria benefits from the current investments at the Leoben site, and these also cement our position as one of the most innovative regions in Europe,” said Styria’s Secretary of Economy Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, who toured the new research center with the Chancellor.
As soon as the new facilities in Leoben go into full operation, at least 500 new jobs will be created directly at AT&S. The construction phase and ongoing operations will generate additional tax revenue of €477 million for Austria by 2033. Gross value added in the country will increase by €124 million per year as a result of the project. €112.9 million will be gained in Styria alone.
AT & S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik Aktiengesellschaft – Advanced Technologies & Solutions
AT&S is a leading global manufacturer of high-quality IC substrates and printed circuit boards as well as a developer of pioneering interconnect technologies for the core areas of mobile devices, automotive & aerospace, industrial, medical and high-performance processors for VR and AI applications. AT&S has a global presence with production sites in Austria (Leoben, Fehring) and plants in India (Nanjangud), China (Shanghai, Chongqing) and Korea (Ansan near Seoul). A new high-end production facility for IC substrates is currently being built in Kulim, Malaysia. A European competence center with connected series production for IC substrate technologies is being built in Leoben. Both sites will start production in 2024. The company employs more than 14,000 people.